Council to take in-depth look at budget

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


City of Washington department heads will be on hand during the second of three scheduled special Washington City Council budget work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Washington Public Library to answer any questions the council has on the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget.

According to the proposed budget, which was unveiled during the first meeting Tuesday, no increase in the property tax rate is planned from the city. The property tax levy will remain at $15.82 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. This is the seventh year the city will have the same tax rate. A three percent average salary increase for non-union staff is budgeted in. The net increase in general fund spending is projected to be 3.25 percent.

The budget is due to the state on March 15. Hinson said the projects and items that will be included in the budget are based on previous guidance and direction from the council. The third workshop is scheduled for Feb. 13 in the Washington Public Library.

Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said the council would also discuss a project to remove the former Goncho Apartment building and replace it with townhouses. Hinson said a public notice wasn?t published for an Urban Renewal Plan, so he doesn?t believe the development agreement vote would take place until the Feb. 6 meeting. He said the council can still take action on the demolition permit.

?We?ll have, for sure, action on the public hearing and the action on the demolition permit application and action on the capital improvement update.?

During the Jan. 16 meeting, the Washington Historic Preservation Commission?s recommendation for the council to approve the demolition permit for Philedelphia House, also known as Goncho Apartments, at 306 N. Marion Ave.

Goncho has been unoccupied since the building was ruled unsafe and the tenants were required to move out in January 2013. A meth lab had been discovered in one of the rooms.

The building had also been inspected and a list of safety items had been given to the owner.

Hinson said owners Andy Drahota and Dave Waite had requested the demolition permit to make way for a redevelopment project.

He said the plan is to construct six 2-story townhouse units with about 1,600 square feet each and garages.